By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
His team had barely slipped out of a noose that Georgia Tech had put on it last Thursday, but Arizona football coach Dick Tomey can't be more satisfied with the Wildcats' first game, a 19-14 win over the Yellow Jackets.
"These kinds of wins do more for a team's early development than anything," Tomey said. "Everybody wants you to win 50-0, but those games don't do anything for you. Those games give you a false sense of security and don't give you any indication of how tough it is to win."
Tomey said he couldn't compliment his players enough for coming back and staying in the game. The Wildcats fell behind 7-0 45 seconds into the game and came back to take a 10-7 lead.
The Wildcats again rebounded from a 14-13 deficit to take their final lead.
Tomey was quick to show his frustration over four turnovers and problems with the kicking game. But he did praise quarterback Dan White, particularly for his play in the clutch.
"He handled the pressure well," Tomey said at his press conference yesterday. "You couldn't script a better ending to have him calling an audible with a lot going on. That's a perfect atmosphere for a quarterback's development."
There was little focus on the Wildcats' tailbacks prior to the Georgia Tech game. Only three-year starter Ontiwaun Carter had received much attention.
So when freshman tailback Kevin Schmidtke came on strong at the end of Thursday's game against the Yellow Jackets, it might have been a surprise, as well as a preview of things to come from what seems to be a deep tailback rotation. Schmidtke is Arizona's No. 3 running back.
He earned his chance last Thursday because starter Carter had fumbled three times and was still adjusting to game situations. Backup Gary Taylor was out with a sprained shoulder.
Taylor will return as the second-string tailback on Saturday.
"The guys know we're not going to penalize a guy for being injured," Tomey said. "All three guys will have a chance to prove what they can do."
New Mexico State, the Wildcats' opponent on Sat urday, has had the displeasure of facing two teams that were ranked No. 1 in a preseason poll ִ Florida (AP and USA Today/CNN) and Arizona (Sports Illustrated).
This week's Associated Press Top 25 poll shows how questionable the weekly rankings can be. After recording an easy 70-21 win over New Mexico State, Florida fell a notch to No. 2. Nebraska is the No. 1 team this week.
"There ought to be a better way of deciding who is No. 1," New Mexico State coach Jim Hess said yesterday via conference call. "It means the (coach) has to run up the score every week to stay No. 1. That's not right."
The Wildcats fell from No. 7 to No. 9.
The Wildcats' comeback win last Thursday added to the Pacific 10 Conference's 4-0 record against non-conference foes in its first games.
Said Coach Tomey: "I don't think there's any question it's (the) best conference in the country for football. I don't think there's a game we'll play in the conference where we won't have a physical advantage on our opposition or anybody will have a physical advantage on us."
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